Kingdom of God vs Kingdom of Heaven

Carl is a biblical scholar, minister, husband, father and life coach. In his mid-twenties he had a powerful encounter with God and saw miraculous healings as a result. He passionately shares these stories and empowers others to fulfill their God-given potential.

Many people think the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven are synonymous, but they are not. The striking difference between these two kingdoms offers us insight into God’s plan for the ages.

The Kingdom of God (KOG) is invisible, within you (Lk 17:21), and does not come by observation (Lk 17:20). The KOG is the invisible kingdom, residing within your heart. The KOG is mentioned 70 times in the Bible and is the means by which God accomplishes His will in this dispensation of Grace, better known as the church age. Seed, time and harvest are a part of the KOG (Gen 8:22).

The Kingdom of Heaven (KOH) is a visible, tangible kingdom that was promised to the Jews initially, but was subsequently rejected by them, when they crucified Christ. The KOH is mentioned 32 times in scripture. It will manifest after Christ’s Second Coming in the millennial reign. For one thousand years, Jew and Gentile will live side by side under this theocracy of the KOH. A theocracy is a government ruled by divine guidance and that guide will be King Jesus.

The Millennial Reign of 1000 yrs = The Kingdom of Heaven (KOH)

The Kingdom of God

The KOG is explicitly defined in the Book of Romans, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom 14:17). The KOG exists in the unseen realm, where peace and joy are accessible, only after we’ve attained right standing with God by the blood of the Lamb. We’re admonished to seek firstly the KOG and ‘all these things will be added to us’ (Mat 6:33). Because Israel rejected the KOG, their kingdom was granted to another nation, the church (Mat 21:43). The disciples preached the KOG throughout the Book of Acts. The KOG is not in word only but ‘power’ (1 Cor 4:20). ‘Flesh and blood cannot inherit the KOG’ but one must be ‘born again’ to not only see it, but enter therein (1 Cor 15:50, Jn 3:3-5).

The Kingdom of Heaven

The KOH is a literal, visible kingdom, where King Jesus is the ultimate ruler. It will manifest in the one-thousand-year reign of Christ, also known as the Millennial Kingdom Age. This is the kingdom the Jews originally desired, when Christ came the first time, but they didn’t realize His visitation would come in two stages, once as a suffering servant (Lamb) and then as a conquering King (Lion). The Jews sadly missed their time of visitation and rejected the rightful Messiah.

The KOH is mentioned exclusively in the Gospel of Matthew and nowhere else. The nature of the KOH is described in twelve parables (Matt 13:1-50, 13:23-25, 20:1-16, 22:1-14, 25:1-30). During the millennial reign, Israel will become, ’the head and not the tail’ (Dt 28:13), taking precedence over the Gentile nations. Israel will become a chief nation and any nation that won’t serve her shall perish (Isa 60:12). Israel began as a prominent nation, falling into obscurity but is soon to be restored to prominence in the Millennial Kingdom Age to come.

Jesus preaches the KOH to the House of Israel, which they later rejected

These parables within the Gospel of Matthew, reveal the KOH is limited to a time where Christ will rule on earth as King. In the Kingdom of Heaven, there will be a mixture of good and evil, wheat and tares, good fish and bad fish, of wise and foolish virgins. It’s hard to believe that evil people will reside in the future when Christ rules as ‘King of Kings’ but they will. The Bible reveals this, because, even after Satan’s bound for one thousand years (Rev 20:2), he still lures some people away from God, once more.

This sadly proves man is prone to corruption even when his environment is idyllic, having no source of temptation. After one thousand years of ‘peace’ and ‘blessing,’ man still rebels against God (Rev 20:7-10). Therefore, it goes on record, that man fails in all seven dispensations of 1) innocence, 2) conscience, 3) self-government, 4) family headship, 5) law, 6) grace and finally even under the influence of the Holy Spirit, free from satanic influence. Man is a complete and utter failure. This doesn’t go down well at graduation ceremonies.

The Jews paid a hefty price for rejecting Christ

Although the apple of God’s eye, the Jews have paid a very heavy price for rejecting Christ the Messiah. When they shouted, ‘crucify Him,’ Israel provoked its own destruction. They then declared, “Let His blood be upon us and our children” (Mat 27:26). As a consequence, many Jewish persecutions have occurred since Christ’s crucifixion. In the year 66 A.D., the Jews revolted against Rome, bringing about the First Roman-Jewish War.

After three years of brutal fighting, in the year 68 A.D., the Roman forces began a siege of Jerusalem that lasted two years. Then, in the year 70 A.D., the Romans (under Titus) were finally able to breach the walls and the Second Temple was utterly destroyed. During these wars and the resulting siege, one million Jews were killed. Some scholars believe this number to be as high as two million! Many died by starvation, fire or crucifixion. The remaining Jews were sold into slavery, fulfilling Deuteronomy 28:68.

The Destruction of Jerusalem and Temple – 70 A.D.

Of course, we know 6 million Jews perished in the Nazi concentration camps of WWII (1942-1943). The amount of suffering they’ve experienced as a nation is devastating but evidently, not without cause. Following their darkest hour, at the close of WWII, God re-established Israel as a nation (May 1948), and the fig tree blossomed once more. It has now flourished into a nation with a population reaching almost 9 million.

Israel is a truly blessed nation today, rich in natural resources, technology and food production. It’s intelligentsia, are some of the most impressive scientists, innovators, and inventors of the modern age. God still watches over Israel and loves them dearly (Ps 121:4). The reason for the severity of judgment upon them, throughout recent history, is because their leaders rejected all three facets of God.

Jewish leaders reject all 3 personalities of God

  1. They Rejected the ‘Father’ (Matt 21:23-27)- John the Baptist taught repentance to the Jews. The Pharisees visited him preaching in the Jordanian wilderness (Mat 3:1). John warned they should repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. This was their opportunity to live out the kingdom age on earth, but because they rejected Christ, this was put on hold for another two thousand years. The Pharisees rejected the authority of Christ and in doing so, rejected the ultimate authority, (God the Father) who sent John the Baptist and Jesus Christ.
  2. They Rejected the ‘Son’ (Mk 15:11-14)- When they crucified their Messiah (Jesus), He was labelled ‘the King of the Jews.’ He was indeed the rightful King seated on the throne of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Pharisaical Jewish leaders stirred the people and turned their hearts against the rightful King of Glory. In doing so, they sealed their own fate. Whoever doesn’t have the Son; doesn’t have life (1 Jn 5:12).
  3. They Rejected theHoly Spirit’ (Acts 7:51-58)- Stephen lambasted the Jewish religious leaders, accusing them of murdering the rightful Messiah (Christ) claiming they, “always resisted the Holy Ghost, as their fathers did.” When they heard this, they were ‘cut to the heart,’ filled with rage and stoned Stephen to death, right on the spot. As far as God was concerned, this was the final straw. Ironically, Stephen fell at the feet of Saul of Tarsus, who would become the mighty Apostle Paul, carrying the light of the Gospel to the Gentile nations after the Jews rejected God. The nation of the church was to replace Israel for a season, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Rom 11:25). God isn’t finished with Israel yet and shortly; it will become a ‘cup of trembling’ for all the nations of the world (Zech 12:2).

According to scripture, it takes two or three witnesses, for a verdict to be established (Dt 19:15; Dt 17:6; 2 Cor 13:1) and by rejecting God three times, in His three personalities (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), Israel’s fate was sealed. God has a special place in his heart for the Jewish people. Some people might question why such a loving God would allow such hardship down the years for His own covenant people.

The reason being is choice always wins. Israel were warned time and time again they would be scattered as a nation if they returned to idol worship (Dt 28:64). Sadly, this deleterious idolatry culminated in Israel, sacrificing their children to the false gods Baal and Molech. Some of the things they did are too revolting to mention.

Engraving of “Molech” from “The Story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation” Published by Charles Foster in 1883.

God remembers His covenant with Israel

God will fulfill His covenant when Israel possesses the royal grant of land, from the river Nile to the river Euphrates (Gen 15:18). This will manifest in the Kingdom Age of the Millenium. Replacement Theory is a false and dangerous doctrine, suggesting the church has replaced Israel and God is finished with them. This is a lie.

When the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Luk 21:24), God’s focus will return to Israel. Sadly, they still have to endure the tribulation period (Jacob’s trouble-Jer 30:7), following the rapture of the Church. However, during the Great tribulation, 144,000 Jews will be set aside to preach the Gospel and Israel will finally acknowledge Christ as Messiah. The Jews will one day look upon Jesus, knowing they pierced the rightful Messiah, in error:

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, The spirit of grace and of supplications: And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, And they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, And shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10).

If you are a believer in Christ, you have a very exciting future ahead of you! In the coming Kingdom of Heaven (Millennial Reign), both Jew and Gentile will unite as never before. This coming Kingdom Age of one thousand years, will provide opportunities for us to rule and reign with Christ (Rev 5:10; Rev 20:4-6; Dan 7:27; Zech 14:9; 1 Cor 6:1-3; Gal 3:29; 1 Thess 4:17; 2 Tim 2:12; Heb 2:8).

What we do down here matters. What we do in this time-frame, enables us to win crowns that we lay before Christ’s feet on judgment day. Use your time wisely.

To find out more about how you will be judged as a Christian, click here…

Have you believed on the Lord Jesus Christ? If not, click here…

Author: Carl G.M. Joseph




Dispensational Truth: God’s Plan and Purpose in the Ages (Clarence Larkin, Whitaker House, 2021)

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